Apr 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden sends national drug control strategy to Congress

A person handling a naloxone kit in Philadelphia in February 2022.
A person handling a naloxone kit in Philadelphia in February 2022. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden sent his administration's first national drug control strategy to Congress, the White House announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Deaths from overdoses recently hit a new record of nearly 107,000 over the past 12 months, according to provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: The plan will act as a guide to drug policy across the federal government and focuses on addressing untreated addiction and clamping down on drug trafficking.

  • It prioritizes harm reduction strategies and evidence-based treatments that have been shown to reduce overdose risk and mortality, such as expanding access to naloxone, which can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
  • It also calls for increased access to clean syringe services programs and drug test strips, which can check drugs for fentanyl.
  • To suppress drug trafficking, it directs the federal government to strengthen existing tools and find new ones to disrupt the financial activities of transnational criminal organizations that manufacture drugs and bring them into the country.

What they're saying: “All too often, these drugs wind up in communities where naloxone isn’t readily available, where harm reduction services are restricted or underfunded, where there are unacceptable barriers to treatment," White House drug czar Rahul Gupta said Wednesday on a call with reporters, according to AP.

  • “Everyone who wants treatment should be able to get it,” he added.

Go deeper: New York City to open first supervised injection sites in U.S.

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